Officially, this is the first entry in the East Side Kids franchise. Made in 1940, this Monogram programmer doesn't yet have the familiar chemistry of Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan and Sammy Morrison, but it's an interesting and fun entry. I hope this new file represents an improvement over the other version available on the Archive.
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In 1940 producer Sam Katzman, noting the financial success of other tough-kid series, made the film East Side Kids using two of the 'Little Tough Guys', Hally Chester and Harris Berger. He added former Our Gang player Donald Haines, Frankie Burke, radio actor Sam Edwards, and Eddie Brian to round out the new team. The film served as a kind of "pilot" for a possible series of films, which were eventually made possible by this film's success.
Katzman hired former Dead End Kid Bobby Jordan to play the lead in the first film in the series proper, Boys of the City and he was soon joined in the series by Leo Gorcey. Gorcey's brother David was also added, as well as (Ernie) 'Sunshine' Sammy Morrison as "Scruno," the only African-American in the group and a former child actor from the very first cast of the Our Gangcomedy team.
In the first few films, Dave O'Brien (familiar from low-budget westerns and serials, and as the accident-prone star of the Pete Smith comedies) played Jordan's older brother Knuckles Dolan,who always seemed to be getting roped into chaperoning the kids from adventure to adventure. O'Brien appeared in different roles as well—continuity between films was often ignored. As with the Little Tough Guys, the membership of the team changed from film to film, until Huntz Hall joined in 1941, when the lineup was somewhat stabilized. In total, 20 actors were members of the team at one time or another.
August 7, 2020 Subject:
i used to watch this when i was 9 years old.
April 29, 2019 Subject:
Check out the nazi salutes at 16:51
April 8, 2015 Subject:
Reply to Bobsluckycat
Thanks for the review! You've been contributing fascinating information about these little Monograms. It almost seems like first-hand knowledge. We're you involved with these or just a fan?
April 7, 2015 Subject:
The First Entry In A Series
Between Feb.20, 1940 when this film was released and the second in the series "Boys Of The City" was released on July 15, 1940. The first entry, a straight crime drama drew in a lot of money and some positive brain storming was done about how things would eventually turn out. Sam Katzsman and his producing partner Jack Dietz would make casting changes and other changes as well over the next several pictures until they got the formula right.
In the meantime, this little film was well received at the box-office and Monogram Pictures was happy with that. Story involves a hapless police officer (Leon Ames, well cast) a group of unruly kids and some crooks. It all moves rather quickly and it has a certain flow to it from good editing. It's kin to a Universal Pictures series of mostly infrequent little "B''s about the Dead End Kids, most of whom would migrate to this series over time.
Nothing really new here but good of kind for a starting entry. Co-Producer Jack Dietz is the rather fat man in a walk on confrontation with the boys. Just so you know. Enjoy this one just for fun. Great picture and sound too.